Reversal of fortune: Rifle comes back against Huskies
The Huskies won Game 1, 15-13, were leading 14-7 and looking to close out the Bears in Game 2. But as Rifle coach Victoria DiGuglielmo rightly said after the dust had settled, “Volleyball is the momentum game.”
The Bears demonstrated that point by ripping off nine straight points to take Game 2 and finished off the Huskies in the deciding set 15-11.
“We made a couple of substitutions in there and it just clicked,” DiGuglielmo said. “We got one or two points, and got the momentum back. This is the momentum sport. As soon as we got the momentum back with one or two points, we just started running.”
The turnaround buoyed Rifle’s hopes of avoiding a pig-tail game Tuesday, while it left the Huskies, who have now lost five in row, searching for answers.
“I don’t know. We’ve got the skill. We gave them a little bit of an open door and they took advantage of it in the second game,” Battle Mountain coach Elizabeth Nilsson said. “We just can’t open that door. We tend to do that a little bit when we get on top.
“We’re strong as a team. We’re focused. Our camaraderie is good. We’re excited about going to districts. We’ve just had a few, rough weeks.”
Rifle’s Krista Wagstrom served off eight points in a row to ignite the Game 2 comeback. During that run, she served an ace, while Montanah Matthies had a kill. The Bears were also opportunistic in capitalizing on Huskies errors.
Laura Pleva finished Game 2 with an ace and Rifle’s momentum continued as the Bears built a 5-0 lead in Game 3. Nichole Lindroth righted the ship for the Huskies with her serving, tying the game at five. The tying point came courtesy of a nifty tip from Jenna Gilbert.
But it was Rifle’s Duana Davis, who was key down the stretch. She answered Battle Mountain’s rally with five points of her own. She was helped by kills from her teammates, A.J. Connolly and Caitlin Wagner.
Down 10-5, the Huskies rallied, but could pull no closer than 12-11 after Lindroth had another ace. Rifle closed out the Huskies with another kill from Wagner and aces from Pleva and Davis.
“This is exactly what I’ve been hoping for all year,” DiGuglielmo said. “We have struggled off and on, playing phenomenal volleyball at times and dropping off at times. If a team needs to peak, it needs to peak at the end of the season. Hopefully, that’s what’s happening.”
Rifle plays Delta on Saturday in its regular-season finale. Meanwhile, the Huskies will hope to shake off this loss before hosting Moffat County in a 7 p.m. tilt Saturday.